The article discusses how ectotherms adjust their body temperatures to suite different climatic conditions. The body temperature of ectotherms depends on their interactions with biotic conditions, morphology, and behavior (Pincebourde et al., 2009). According to Pincebourde et al., only a few animals adjust their thermal properties due to short-term climatic changes in their local environments (2009). However, studies indicate that different animals living in different thermal surroundings show morphological flexibility or move to unfavorable locations, as a method of coping with short-term changes in temperature. In order to gain more insight about this phenomenon, Pincebourde and colleagues undertake a study on the intertidal sea star known as Pisaster ochraceus.
The objectives of this study include; to find out the relationship between body temperature, body weight, and wet body mass, and to find out the effects of aerial exposure on wet body mass in Pisaster ochraceus. The researchers study how Pisaster ochraceus adjusts its thermal inertia when reacting to previous exposures to high body temperatures in low tides, and low body temperatures in high tides: in order to achieve these objectives.
The method used by the researchers in their study is an experimental method. This involved collection of raw data concerning the physical location and the temperature patterns of the specific location of the study: Bodega Marine Reserve, California. Afterwards, the researchers placed the sea stars in a control environment, where they regulated their body weight, and the tidal temperatures. The controlled environment enabled the researchers to conduct experiments on the effects of aerial exposure on wet body mass, and the relationship between body temperature, body weight, and wet body mass in Pisaster ochraceus (Pincebourde et al., 2009).
The results of the experiment were statistically analyzed using univariate approach: RM-ANOVA. The results of the first experiment indicated that Pisaster ochraceus were able to adjust their body temperatures in low tides after prior exposure to high tides. This was consistent to the researchers’ hypothesis, which stated that, ‘exposure to cooler water temperature during high tide led to lower body temperature during the subsequent low tide’ (Pincebourde et al., 2009). In the second experiment, the results of the experiment were also consistent with the researchers’ second hypothesis, which stated that, exposure to warmer body temperatures resulted into increased wet body mass in Pisaster ochraceus (Pincebourde et al., 2009).
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As a conclusion, the researchers state that, intertidal organisms experience different levels of physiological stress as they interact with varying water and aerial temperatures. They observe that, due to the current global changes in climatic conditions, increased ocean temperatures may interfere with the ability of Pisaster ochraceus to evade thermal pressure during aerial exposure at low tide (Pincebourde et al., 2009, p.896).
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